CAC, Seme Customs command, Comptroller Timi Bomodi.

Less than 40 days to Christmas, the Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has commenced joint border patrols with other security agencies comprising the Department of State Security DSS, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA, Nigeria Immigration Service NIS and the Nigeria Police along the Lagos-Abidjan trade corridor.

The Command has also said that it is now ready to process the 43 items the federal government recently lifted foreign exchange ban on, urging prospective importers to begin processes and documentations associated with the importation of the affected products.

Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Timi Bomodi, who fielded questions from Journalists shortly after briefing on the activities of the command since he assumed duty on September 18, 2023, disclosed that all the sister security agencies operating at the Seme-Krake Border Joint Border Post have just held its periodic security meeting of the heads of all the agencies and had resolved to commence joint border patrols.

He further disclosed that such joint patrols had become necessary and inevitable in order to harmonise their operations so as to position officers and men of the agencies in strategic locations and not just have them littered everywhere, adding that they would be more effective when they deployed strategically.

Beyond the need to curb smuggling and other economic sabotage along the all- important trade corridor, he noted that the joint patrol initiative is also designed to check the activities of some state actors, who take undue advantage of their position and influence to abate some of the illegal activities the security agencies are expected to fight.

Bomodi, who double as chairman of the Seme-Krake Joint Security Committee, assured that the agencies are resolute in their commitment to sanitise the trade corridor as part of measures to encourage compliant traders that use the axis.

“We just concluded our joint security meeting of all the agencies here and we have all agreed to harmonise our operations by positioning officers from the various security agencies at strategic locations along the trade corridor not just to have them litter the roads but to deploy them strategically so that their impact would be felt more and that they would be more effective.

“We all agreed that we would all work in that direction and to that effect, a joint border patrol has commenced not just to help us in combating smuggling, but to also deter certain activities of persons that are supposed to be on the side of the law enforcement agencies so that when we are all together, operating as one body, nobody would come using certain influence they believe they have to carry out the same activities that we are telling others cannot be done.

“So we are working together and we are resolute in our commitment to see that this corridor is sanitised and by God’s grace, we will achieve that because I saw the will, I saw the commitment of the officers that were represented at the joint meeting that we held”, he said.

It was gathered that this development may have been informed by the fact that one of the illegal consignment seized a few months ago along the corridor by the command was being escorted by an officer of one of the security agencies, whose identity was not disclosed but was promptly arrested and handed over to his agency for possible disciplinary actions.

The Comptroller, who also spoke on the multiplicity of security checkpoints on the road, noted that part of the considerations at the meeting was the strategic deployment of officers, adding that the littering of security officials on the road, which is a clear departure from what is obtained at the Republic of Benin axis was not good enough and does not speak good of Nigeria’s image.

He however assured that the issue was being addressed at the very top levels of government and that in no distant time, sanity would be restored on the trade corridor.

He said: “We are all working in that direction. We are proud Nigerians, we would like to see that this road is sanitised, we would like to be like our neighbours. It is not a bad idea to copy good things when we identify them. We can see how they manage their transit points and we want to emulate that. “Anywhere we see something working efficiently, we should not be ashamed to copy it so that compliant traders using this axis would be elated and incentivised and continue to use the corridor because they see that the government agencies are working for their good. We are very positive about that.”